Free agent designated hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion has three preferred landing spots – the Blue Jays, Red Sox and an unidentified team – a major league source told Rob Bradford of WEEI. The mystery club isn’t the Yankees, per Bradford, and they’re likely out of the running for Encarnacion (if they were ever in it) after adding Matt Holliday. The Blue Jays could be out, too, as they’ve reached deals with two first base/DH types in Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce this offseason. The fact that Toronto moved on to other options so quickly after Encarnacion rejected its four-year, $80MM offer came as a surprise to the longtime Jay, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
More from the majors’ two East divisions:
- Despite reported interest in Holliday and now-Astro Carlos Beltran, Boston didn’t make offers to either, Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “I figured we would wait to see what takes place later on, who’s out there. Our priority is to try to get a guy that can pitch the eighth inning for us,” said Dombrowski, who’s working with a limited amount of spending room because of a desire to stay under the $195MM luxury-tax threshold. “There’s a little bit more of a drive to [stay under]. But I can’t tell you where we we’re going to end up,” he stated. “There are penalties attached that I would rather not be in a position that we have to incur.” That would seem to rule out any possibility of Encarnacion to Boston, which already looked unlikely entering Monday. As for the bullpen, Dombrowski is unsure whether he’ll acquire a setup man via trade or free agency, but he hasn’t ruled out re-signing either Brad Ziegler or Koji Uehara.
- The Yankees are one of “several” teams engaging in “ongoing” dialogue with free agent infielder Luis Valbuena, his agent, Steve Schneider, told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Bombers have so far balked at the demands of Valbuena, who is seeking a multiyear deal and wants an everyday role. New York won’t be able to offer a daily place in its lineup to Valbuena unless it deals third baseman Chase Headley, but the club hasn’t had any luck doing that. Valbuena, 31, spent the previous two years in Houston and is coming off his third straight strong offensive campaign, though his season ended in August because of hamstring surgery.
- The Blue Jays continue to have interest in acquiring outfielder Jay Bruce from the Mets, but they’re “offering little,” relays FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Toronto nearly acquired Bruce from Cincinnati last offseason, but the deal fell apart and he went on to hit .250/.309/.506 with 33 home runs in 589 plate appearances with the Reds and Mets. New York is now likely to move Bruce, who will make $13MM next season in the final year of his contract.
- The Marlins are “looking outside the organization” for a backup catcher to replace now-Diamondback Jeff Mathis, team president Michael Hill said Monday (Twitter link via Spencer). A.J. Ellis came up as a possibility Monday.